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Flying Sea Food Special

You know what fish are — those scaly finned things with the big fin for a tail that live in various bodies of water... except for these things, which forget that last part.

For some reason, in fiction — especially Video Games — one can encounter fish that float in the air. Given sufficient animation, in fact, they will clearly be swimming through the air. These creatures are typically found on beaches and around waist-deep water — but not always. The next most common habitat for the Flying Seafood Special is the desert.

Rays seem particularly popular, probably due to already having wings. But it doesn't have to be fish; you can have Flying Electric Jellyfish, Flying Giant Squid, Air Whales...

As for what the reasons might be for such beings to exist, two stand out as primary — it allows the characters to interact with them (typically by fighting them) by the path of least Willing Suspension of Disbelief, or alternately it works as a touch of surreality.

This also happens in nearly every Mons series ever. OK, now since there are more aquatic creatures than any other kind on Earth, obviously you're going to have to throw in some Mons based on fish somewhere. Except the problem is, 90% of your game takes place on the land (because Atlantis Is Boring). Hrm. Well, just have them act like they're swimming through the air. Not Quite Flight, just hovering ever so slightly over the ground at all times. Problem solved! Nobody would question that!

Related to If It Swims, It Flies. Compare Space Whale and Living Gasbag. Not to be confused with Shamu Fu. Can be a type of Airborne Mook. Fish People are similarly air-dwelling sea-creatures (and if their culture has a Horse of a Different Color, expect it to be something like this - most likely a seahorse).


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • The Skyfish from Eureka Seven.
  • Tower of God, forgive the pun, swims in this trope: Giant eels float through the sky. A partial justification is the fact that the surrogate for air in the Tower is Shinsoo, something that can concentrate in certain areas, especially on higher levels of the Tower, giving everything some buoyancy.
  • Bleach anime Bount arc. The Bount Sawatari's doll is the giant rock-like fish Baura that can fly through the air, as well as under the ground (by phasing through another dimension).
    • The released form of Unohana's zanpakutou. Sure, it's got only one eye and it's green, but it's shaped like a manta ray and has baleen in its mouth.
      • It also has a foot.
  • The flying coelocanth shadows in Angel's Egg.
  • The Sand Rays in Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.
  • One of the things Haruna had sketched and brought to life in Mahou Sensei Negima! was a flying manta ray she used to get away from one of Fate's minions. Nodoka proved to be quite adept at piloting it too.
  • One of these is the summon beast Clef uses to collect the main characters upon their first arrival in Cephiro in Magic Knight Rayearth.
  • Megaman NT Warrior inexplicably pulled this out when a virus Navi infected the robot fish in an aquarium. All of them suddenly floated right out of their tanks and took to the streets.
  • In Transformers: Robots In Disguise, Sky-Byte transforms into a shark which can fly (as well as burrow underground).
  • There are fish that fly through the air like birds in Fairy Tail... that turn out to be inedible, even if prepared by a decent chef.

    Art 

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animated 
  • One of the numbers in Fantasia 2000 features flying whales.
  • The Leviathan for some reason was actually revealed to have the ability to fly as seen in the prologue of Atlantis: The Lost Empire. After Atlantis is destroyed, it starts to live underwater instead.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Voyage of the Basset
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Horror Of The Heights."
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe adores these, mostly vast and in the form of flying whales. Alderaan was the homeworld of a huge variety of thrantas, which were also Giant Flyers. On Bespin there's the more rayfish-like velkers with 300 meter wingspans, which hunted the much, much bigger flying jellyfish called beldons, while on a much smaller scale rawks hunted tiny winged fish, and a species of thranta was introduced before their homeworld exploded.
  • The Demonray from Natural Selection, a flying, air-breathing, implausibly intelligent, tree-climbing carnivorous manta relative from the abyss. Oh, and it roars, too.
    • For extra amusement, they actually try explaining (poorly) how it flies...
  • The Leviathan from Leviathan.
    • Justified, though, as it breathes hydrogen and has been genetically engineered for this purpose.
  • During the long rain, One Hundred Years of Solitude depicts fish swimming through the incredibly water-saturated air in the house.
  • A flying dolphin under the ownership of a prince appears in the French fairy tale Babiole. The dolphin has wings.
  • Played for laughs in Sewer, Gas & Electric, when the mutant great white Meisterbrau pursues a victim onto dry land, then spreads its oversized pectoral fins and swoops onto the unfortunate schmuck.
  • Science fiction novella A Meeting With Medusa features a Jupiter inhabited by peaceful, cloud-grazing manta rays. Except that they're not — peaceful or cloud-grazing, that is. The "clouds" they feed on turn out to be enormous jellyfish which may actually be sapient.
  • Used in The Kingdomsof Evil for a particularly fiendish form of transportation
  • The Stormlight Archive has "skyeels" which are basically Exactly What It Says on the Tin, they apparently fly using gas sacs or something.
  • The Black Company spend some time in the Plain of Fear, which is home to wind-whales and flying mantas. There are also coral reefs, but those are the (desert) ground, not in the air.
  • In Richard Ellis Preston Jr.'s Chronicles Of The Pneumatic Zeppelin, they fight off a kraken from their zeppelin.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Skywhales in Alien Worlds: Blue Moon.
  • The Horde Of Alien Locust Flying Robot Stingrays in Doctor Who episode "Planet of the Dead".
    • And the flying space whale in "The Beast Below".
    • "A Christmas Carol", the 2010 Christmas special, is set on a planet covered in dense clouds and fog that fish can swim through using electrical pulses. There is a flying shark.
  • Cosmos
  • The Flish from The Future Is Wild. Apparently a fish that would live on Earth 200 million years from now...
  • Subverted for Vyvyan on The Young Ones, who once looked out the window, saw a shark passing by the glass, and declared it this trope and the most completely brilliant thing he'd ever seen. Then Mike spoiled it by explaining that London had flooded, meaning the shark was only swimming, not flying.

    Music 
  • Linkin Park's "In The End" music video had a whale flying in the newly greened desert.
  • Tales from Topographic Oceans by Yes has a school of fish lazing through some kind of misty air-stream emanating from a distant pyramid on a starry night on the cover. Because Roger Dean, that's why.
  • The flying whale in the music video for "Inspectors of Inspectors" by Driftless Pony Club.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer features Screamers of Tzeentch, which amount to flying stingrays.
  • Flying fish actually has existed for quite some time in Magic: The Gathering, but it's only recently that they actually have the creature type Fish (creature type being the relative equivalent of species). Case in point: As early as the year 2000, we have Cloudskate, a flying manta ray, and Amugaba, a flying eel, but both have the creature type of Illusion instead (perhaps as a Lampshade Hanging). Then there is also Mulldrifter, an Elemental (in Lorwyn, Elementals are amalgamations of many animals, and this one just happens to be part fish and part bird). Only recently we have actual flying fish in the form of Windrider Eel and Sky-Eel School, in addition to erratas which gives other sea-creature types to those that don't have them when they are printed.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
  • Eclipse Phase has whales, known as Suryas, that live in the corona of the sun. Since there is no material on the sun that isn't gaseous or plasmatic, its safe to call this flight.
    • Said whales also happen to be humans (well, mostly, there's some uplifted whales and AIs who've sleeved in Suryas). Eclipse Phase is that kind of game.

    Video Games 
  • Aion has sand whales.
  • Animal Kaiser has floating sharks, among other things.
  • Final Fantasy games do this a lot.
    • Many Underground Monkey variations of this exist in Final Fantasy IV — often literally underground, as there are many caves lined with water.
    • Final Fantasy VI had crabs and stingrays, in the desert. There was also The Veldt, where all the creatures the player had encountered so far in the game (except for most bosses note )had a chance to show up in Random Encounters. That included things like jellyfish sitting out in the savanna while suffering no ill effect.
      • It had a subversion, though - many of the aquatic creatures that could be found in the desert actually lost health every round. Considering that at least two of them have practically no health at all, and have some great items to steal, it turns them into a Metal Slime battle.
      • And of course, Ultros. The first time everyone's favorite Octopus Royalty shows up, it's in a river. Odd for a saltwater creature, but believable. Then, in the rafters (and the main stage) of an Opera House. Then the bone-dry caves of a mountain. Then in a mid-air battle (the party is standing on the deck of an airship. Ultros is, uh, floating.)
    • Final Fantasy VIII also has them in the form of Fastitocalons, which swim through both the air and the ground.
    • Whale Zombies and probably more things from Final Fantasy IX.
    • Pugils, and the much rarer Orobon, in Final Fantasy XI.
      • Also in XI, in the area Al'Taieu (commonly nicknamed as "sea" by the playerbase) there are various types of enemies that somewhat resemble aquatic life (which in turn are also nicknamed as sharks, goldfish, etc.) All of them are capable of floating in the air. "Phuabo" enemies, which resemble blue manta rays, actually "hide" underneath the water until you walk over them, at which point they surface, glide into the air, and start to attack.
    • The various types of sandfish in the sandsea in Final Fantasy XII.
      • The first floating fish you encounter is in the sewers.
    • Averted in Final Fantasy X. The various seafood only appear in specific underwater battles, in which only three out of the seven PCs can participate, and on one occasion, a previously flying snake creature ends up being an underwater boss for a second beatdown.
    • In Final Fantasy I, once you get the ship, you can get into random battles while sailing. One of the first enemies you can encounter while sailing is sharks. The sprite doesn't seem to show anything special about them, other than their willingness to jump on your boat to eat you. They actually are one of the toughest, if not the toughest, enemies you'll first encounter sailing, so they must have some sort of advantage fighting on the boat.
  • The Reapers in the Mass Effect universe were built in the image of immense squid-like sea creatures referred to only as "the Leviathans". There's also the hanar which are sentient jellyfish-like creatures that use technology to allow them to hover slightly above the ground.
  • Perfect World has the new-ish mob Orbfish, appearing in the Tideborn Islands. They're basically orb-shaped fish with huge bulbous eyes that, if you tame it as a pet, can actually fly several hundred feet above the ground with no problem whatsoever.
  • Infinite Undiscovery has one of these — with several different Palette Swap versions. Generally encountered on the beach, and in the desert (where they seem to swim through the sand as easily as the air).
  • Etrian Odyssey has quite some examples. Cotrangl in the first game (which also return as a Bonus Boss in the third game), as well as Narmer and Ketos among others in the third game.
  • The Wind Fish from The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is a whale example.
    • Plus the Majora's Mask Zora Mask offers a gliding power... if you can exploit that bug.
    • Majora's Mask's third boss, Gyorg, 'Mechanical Masked Fish', starts off the fight with a creepy first-person view as it sneaks up on you, followed with it jumping out of the water and stopping midair to pose for the camera. Whether it's a good thing or not that it doesn't have levitation powers like this after the introductory cutscene is debatable.
    • Talking of Gyorg... Minish Cap has a boss which is two variants of the Gyorg species, which are flying manta rays. Which fly at about air craft level and whom Link must fight by standing on them and attacking. There's also the sand swimming variants in Spirit Tracks.
    • Ocarina of Time has flying jellyfish. Electrified flying jellyfish.
  • All of the fish in Skies of Arcadia's overworld. There are a few water fish in the Far East, but that's it.
    • To further cement this trope's effect, if you fly your ship through a school of flying fish, you capture them with nets, and can then sell them for profit at the larger markets.
  • Pokémon: All of the 3D games, particularly Stadium, Colosseum, XD, and Battle Revolution. Goldeen gracefully floats in the air then turns bottom-up when it's knocked out. Er, except for Magikarp. The poor bastard doesn't even get this power. In the games, you can pull out your anglerfish Pokémon and use it to battle armadillos in the middle of the desert, and it will have the advantage. Somehow.
    • Gyarados, Mantine and Mantyke justify this, being Water/Flying types.
    • In a strange reference to this trope, the Steel/Ground-type Pokémon Steelix also floats above the ground in the 3D games. Sand Is Water?
    • This is notably averted in the Pokémon anime series where Water-type Pokémon without arms or legs, wings, or some way of psychokinetically floating themselves around actually DO flounder around helplessly on land. None of the characters in the cast have ever owned a Pokemon that falls into this category, except for Water-type specialist Misty. She had a Goldeen, and due to averting this trope it appeared in only about 3 episodes in any sort of role, and only during times where it Looked Like A Job For Aquaman.
    • This is especially bizarre in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon sub series, since your characters follow behind you instead of being kept in balls. Let's go into a volcano and bring a goldfish with a horn on it with us. It'll do great! In an inversion, Pokemon that shouldn't have been able to breathe underwater could be taken on adventures in dungeons filled with saltwater at the bottom of the sea.
    • Special mention should go to Wailmer and Wailord (yes, that one); the latter is the largest Pokemon there is, but surprisingly light for its size, because the two whale Pokémon also share characteristics of hot-air balloons and zeppelins.
      • In fact, Wailord have either a density close to air (either just over or just under, depending on your estimates for all the measurements), or a density under hydrogen's density, depending if you take the Pokedex height as length or actual height.
    • The Super Smash Brothers series has Poké Balls that can be used to summon random Pokémon; one of the random summons is Goldeen, which flops uselessly on the ground when summoned (a role usually reserved for Magikarp). However, later games introduce other fishy creatures that simply float (such as Wailord).
    • Don't forget Kyogre who, uh..."flies" around the stage using Hydro Pump when released from a Poké Ball.
      • Kyogre is basically a god. We should count ourselves lucky that it chooses to float rather than flood the stage.
    • Pokémon Black and White gives us the pure Electric-type lampreys Tynamo, Eelektrik and Eelektross, whose Levitate ability literally makes them float. As such, this negates their only weakness to Ground and hence making them have no weaknesses at all (apart from Gravity/Mold Breaker).
    • Stunfisk subverts the trope-it appears to be a fish, and can be found in water,but it's Ground/Electric type, which is likely why Cilan's is seen more often in the anime than Misty's Goldeen. However, it just so happens to be capable of flight. How that works aerodynamically, we may never know.
    • Pokémon X and Y gives us the squid Inkay. It's not a water type (it's Dark/Psychic) and floats in its animation. Even more bizarre is that they are found in tall grass instead of water.
    • Mention also goes to Lugia. It's Flying/Psychic,and can be seen flying in the Anime and Pokémon XD, but it's also known as the 'Guardian of the Seas'. It can be seen swimming on Soulsilver's title screen, and can learn some water moves, like Hydro Pump, Rain Dance, Surf,Waterfall and Dive.
  • The sky whale from Grandia III.
  • The flying mantras in the Shrine of Storm from Demons Souls.
  • There's flying manta rays as part of the background scenery on Dantooine in Knights of the Old Republic.
  • Likewise, the mantas in the deserts of Aio in Rise of Legends. It's okay, they're magic. The Alin use them for their mounted archers, the Heartseekers.
  • All of the fish-based Mons in Spectrobes.
  • The Ogyo species in Monster Rancher, which are floating pink dolphins.
  • All of the Aquatic Digimon. Unlike the other examples, they're shown doing this in some episodes of the anime, too. Seadramon and Submarimon achieved flight in some minor appearances.
  • In Gotcha Force, this is played with in a very weird way - the Diver set of Borgs "swim" through the air via a bubble of water constantly around them that slows down any other Borgs who hop into it.
  • Ecco the Dolphin : The Tides Of Time had future dolphins who had evolved to be capable of flight. There is also the giant flying jellyfish.
    • The latter is also That One Boss (despite not technically being a boss). Also involved in the worst level in the game.
  • Cave Story has jellyfish that can float in air. They later reappear in a water level, more appropriately.
  • The Reavers and Nemacysts of Gears of War have a decidedly squid-like appearance, and no visible methods of flight. Yet they do. Fast.
  • Some levels in Super Mario Bros. will have Cheep-Cheeps jumping out at Mario as he tries to cross a broken bridge to the castle (with no visible body of water beneath them).
  • Nova-form Kheldians in City of Heroes resemble flying squids.
  • In Beyond Good & Evil, there's a giant, flying manta-ray that you can take a picture of.
  • Nether Rays in World of Warcraft are flying creatures that bear a resemblance to stingrays. They aren't actually fish, though— apparently they're more closely related to insects than anything else.
  • The majority of water element enemies in Megaman Battle Network games are fish who bob up and down in midair. Since they comprise a quarter of the games' Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, you will find them scattered all over the place but focused in water-themed levels. In the fifth game one level forces Megaman to dive underwater to complete a level, and while he gets an air counter outside of battle, the random encounters have identical behavior whether they're in or out of the water.
    • It should be justified, since Megaman.exe is a program accessing the internet and all, which just makes the entire "air counter" stupendously nonsensical.
  • Earthworm Jim featured fish enemies which flew by means of attached rotor blades. Said fish could be found in a level set in the intestines.
  • Eternal Sonata has enemies that resemble swordfish. They're just as much at home hovering over the sand as hovering over the water as hovering over a spiral ramp that plays music when you walk on it. It's all the same.
    • In fact, there are several hovering enemies that resemble aquatic life in this game.
  • Every enemy in the Darius series is some form of giant mechanical sealife, with the occasional dinosaur, chameleon, or fetus thrown in for good measure. They don't just stick with the obvious like squids, barracudas, and sharks; there are half a dozen different coelacanth bosses, not to mention a cuttlefish, a tripod fish, a blue whale, and weirdest of all, a sea angel (look it up—they're pretty, harmless, and pretty harmless.) and even a Barreleye fish.
    • Parodied to hell and back by "Space Invaders '95" in the food level; among other things, before the boss fight, the screen flashes with Darius' trademark siren and "Warning! Dangerous warship SUSHI PLATTER is approaching!" Then you fight a giant sushi combo platter.
  • Quest for Glory I had Mantrays, which are pretty much flying mantas. That cast spells. And live in a forest. In the game world's equivalent of the Alps.
  • Ghost Fish in Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox and in Ninja Gaiden 2 for the Xbox 360.
  • Castlevania gives us Forneus, flying jellyfish. They're actually modeled after the Solomonic demon of the same name, who is said to appear as a sea monster; the same demon appears in Shin Megami Tensei and spin-offs as a manta ray.
  • Sector Y in the original Star Fox is an ocean in space, featuring giant space schools of fish, stingrays both small and large, squid and even amoebas. There's also a Space Whale but it's friendly and only appears when certain conditions are met. Oddly enough, the boss for the level isn't anything like that, instead a hydrogen harvester spaceship.
    • To be fair, it does resemble a tentacled creature (and its name includes "Hydra", a very small relative of the anemone).
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has the netch, technically not "seafood" as they are land-based animals, but come on. They're giant floating jellyfish.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, undead creatures don't need to breathe, and the game makes no distinction between land creatures and water creatures besides what they breathe. This can result in undead whales or carp moving across land to attack your fortress. The undead carp in particular are infamous for being Demonic Spiders.
  • Rule of Rose. Justified since... well... Hoo boy...
  • The old, surreal game Weird Dreams features these in the Desert stage.
  • In Guild Wars factions, some Jade Sea creatures do this, with irukandji and scuttle fish being the main ones. This is necessary as the entirety of their home sea was converted to solid jade.
  • Bio-Hazard Battle has you fight flying squid at the very start of the opening stage. Then again, pretty much all the animals in that game have been mutated and such by a virus.
  • There is an enemy in Rune Factory Frontier that's something like a flying lamprey. Whale Island would be this if it weren't... well, an island.
  • Quest 64's lack of being able to be in water is the only reason why the monsters appear as they do. The Magma Fish are made of lava, while the Winged Sunfish could justify it by their name in general. The other Water-aligned monsters don't have this problem, even the other two fish themself.(Fishman and Granagach)
  • New Super Marisa Land has Scuba Fairies that act similarly to the Cheep Cheeps from Mario. They are much more dangerous, however, owing to the random intervals at which they leap from the water, and their arc.
  • Pikmin features Jellyfloats, which are essentially hovering jellyfish that suck up their prey rather than sting it.
  • Level 9 of Stinkoman 20X6 takes place in the sky, with Stinkoman in the Stinkowing (a ship that resembled Strong Bad's mask). The enemies include: shrimps, jellyfish, mantas, sharks, fish, clams, octopuses, anemones, and CORAL. To top off the weirdness, the boss (allegedly an octopus or squid) is a gangster with a tommy gun!
  • In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, sharks, dolphins and whatever else is underwater can become this due to a rocket glitch.
  • The Fin Fatale and Tatsu Steed dream eaters in Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] both swim through the air (Though they can't fly, hovering a few feet above the ground at most), and the former can even dive into solid ground for surprise attacks. Appropriately, they're the only dream eaters who don't end up Floating in a Bubble while playing the Water Barrel minigame.
  • In Sonic Heroes, Robotnik combines this with Flying Aircraft Carrier.
  • Mega Man X4 has Jet Stingray. Like his name suggests, he can fly around via jets.
  • Many of the giant flying Gohma from Asura's Wrath look like Fish. Gohma Stingers look like Rays, Gohma Gliders resemble lionfish, and Gohma Crushers are look like Cephalopods, particular giant flying squid mixed with Shell-fish. Gohma Carriers are Barnacles.
  • A gag in Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When it's Dark Outside. During the game, Pajama Sam makes his way into a Mad Scientist Laboratory and find a potion book with a lot of colorful chemicals. One of the spells he can cast is Fish From The Air. They swim around him for a few seconds, and then disappear as quickly as they came.
  • Every Parodius game lets you play as a flying octopus, with later games adding mambo fish to the cast. This is one of the less weird things about the series.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun gives us the Tiberian Floater in the expansion, a freakish jellyfish-like creature that floats through the air and attacks your units.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Contrary to the name, neither flying fish nor flying squids count as this trope. Technically they both glide.
  • And then there's this.
  • Fortean Times loves this sort of story. In fact, one of the Ur Example Fortean phenomena was a mysterious shower of fish and shellfish over Cromer, Norfolk, in 1887. Explained away as a mysterious, unwitnessed and never-found Mad Fishmonger who went around town in the early hours of the morning flinging buckets of produce everywhere, the mystery may have been solved. East Anglia gets tornados (yes, we have them in Britain too, but not to Mid-Western standards)and a waterspout originating at sea might have travelled inland, depositing marine life it picked up as it ebbed and died. Similar rains of fish have been reported world-wide and have happened often enough and to too many people to be dismissed as hoaxes or delusions. People have reported seeing fish seemingly flying through the air in high winds and storms...
    • Parodied in the Discworld novels, where mysterious rains of fish come in the form of canned pilchards, anchovies and sardines. You have to duck a lot or wear a steel helmet.


Fish PeopleAquatic Animal TropesFrogs and Toads
Flying SaucerFlying TropesFull Moon Silhouette
Fake Ultimate MookVideo Game CharactersGiant Hands of Doom
Periphery HatedomImageSource/Tabletop GamesPsycho Electric Eel

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